Sunday, 7th June, 2020

[Day 83]

The weather did not bode particularly well this morning as there was a smattering of rain. After the Andrew Marr show, I made my way on my own to pick up the Sunday newspapers as Meg was not feeling very well and decided to spend some extra time in bed this morning. Lunchtime included a good portion of spinach – some Dutch clinicians have discovered that a deficiency of vitamin K is often exhibited in those who succumb to the coronavirus so it is well to keep our consumption of broccoli, spinach and particularly kale on the menu from now on. After lunch, I set myself the task of cleaning up some plastic storage boxes that I use previously to grow veg in – this is all part of the rationalisation of my garden tools outfit. This sounds a deceptively simple task but the boxes I have seem to have hidden curves and ridges in them which means that no longer do you think you have one surface cleaned when other springs into view. The overall plan is to keep all gardening utensils neatly stored away so that the boxes themselves are not an eyesore and contribute to a feeling of clutter. Miggles the cat was my constant companion and whenever I had completed one box and lined it with cardboard (to keep it pristine) the cat would insist on occupying it and giving it her seal of approval.

Last night, we watched the Life of Pi on the TV (story of a young boy. shipwrecked alongside some zoo animals of which the most prominent is the tiger) We had both seen it before and enjoyed it the second time around – but if you go on the web, there is an amazing amount of philosophical explanation as to which of the two accounts to believe (as depicted on the film or a sanitised version, without the zoo animals, given to the Japanese investigators of the shipwreck) Unusual and enjoyable, all the same.

The Sunday newspapers are full of speculation that the government is desperately keen to end the lockdown as soon as possible because there is a prediction that 3 million jobs could soon be lost unless the lockdown is eased quickly. But the public mood is quite interesting because three times as many people feel that that the end to the lockdown may be preceding too rapidly as want a quick end to the lockdown. I suppose there is a feeling that having come this far, then why risk the rapid emergence of a second (and more brutal?) 0r and/or third wave for the sake of a week or so? However, it is true to say that other European countries seem to be on a faster trajectory to end lockdowns than is the case in the UK – there does seem to be a long ‘tail’ to the statistical distribution and fears that the ‘R’ rate is already exactly 1.0 in the SouthWest but greater than 1.0 in the North West (which would mean that start of exponential growth in those regions) The consensus view is that the only sensible course to follow is to allow liberalisation only if there is an excellent ‘test and track’ regime in place to immediately pounce on any hotspots. However, we now know that the ‘test-and-trace’ service is woefully incomplete and will only be fully functional in September. This implies that too rapid an end to the lockdown is an incredibly risky venture – but then it was the same bunch of politicians who have progressed with Brexit which again is an enormously risky undertaking.

The other big political story this weekend is the continuing ‘Black Lives Matter‘ protests taking place in cities in the UK and, indeed, globally. I find it fascinating that it not just members of the BAME communities that are out on the streets but the protesters seem to be drawn from every section of society – it seems from the broadcast images that there are as many white as there are brown or black faces. Of course, the original spark that lit the flame was repulsive (a white police officer kneeling on the neck of a black person squeezing the life out of him for seven minutes whilst being filmed doing so).